On today's press call, FOX Entertainment boss Charlie Colliersaid, "We are turning the final season into a large TV event".
Fox executives shared the news on Monday, May 13 and also revealed controversial starJussie Smollett will not be returning to the show...as of right now. However, one thing that is known for certain is that the 6th season of Empire will be its last.
Fox has always been known for its animated comedies, most notably The Simpsons, and is betting viewers want more. Criminal charges were dropped but the uproar has yet to subside, making Smollett a continued publicity liability for Fox. The final season will air Tuesdays instead of Wednesdays and will consist of 20 episodes instead of 18. The actor told Chicago police in January that he had been attacked by two individuals who yelled racist and homophobic slurs, but authorities later said Smollett had staged the attack. "If you think about it, one of the great benefits of announcing a final season is that you actually allow the fans to lean in and have the ending they deserve", Collier said, according to Vanity Fair.
In its sixth and final season, "Empire" returns to its original Tuesday 9 p.m. stomping grounds, behind season three of medical potboiler "The Resident".
When pressed as to whether Smollett's legal issues contributed in any way to the decision to cap "Empire" after the next 20 episodes, Collier deflected the question, saying, "six years is a remarkable run". Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard, along with several other cast members, recently penned a joint letter urging the network to bring Smollett back for Season 6.
Fox entertainment president Michael Thorn said he "promises [the season will be] filled with drama, shocking surprises and more jaw-dropping moments".
At the time of the renewal announcement, there were "no plans" for the actor to return as Jamal Lyon, though Smollett's contract had been extended to keep the option open. "The writer's room for next season hasn't even gathered yet".